Two of the giants of American detective fiction were born in July. Erle Stanley Gardner was born on July 17. 1889 and is best remembered for creating the lawyer-detective Perry Mason, whose television series seems to be in permanent reruns. Next week will mark the anniversary of the birth of Raymond Chandler, the master of hard-boiled crime fiction in a series of books featuring Los Angeles private eye Philip Marlowe. Chandler also wrote three major movie screenplays, including "Double Indemnity." Detective and crime fiction remain popular with American readers and are among the more than three billion new books expected to be sold this year.
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